The 2021-22 season will represent the 75th anniversary of the National Basketball Association, and with that historic season could possibly come sweeping changes to the NBA schedule and playoffs, including a 30-team, in-season tournament and reseeding the remaining four teams for the semi-finals in place of what is now the Conference Finals. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe:
In proposals that include the adoption of in-season tournaments and a postseason play-in, the traditional regular-season schedule would be reduced from 82 games — with most teams scheduled to play 78 or 79 games. There’s a small possibility of a team playing a maximum of 83 games based on possible tournament and play-in scenarios, league sources said. For the in-season tournament, the NBA is focused on 30-team participation that begins with a divisional group stage of scheduled regular-season games.
Those pre-knockout-round games would be part of the regular-season schedule. Six divisional winners -- based on home and road records in the group stage -- and the two teams with the next-best records would advance to a single-elimination knockout round, league sources said.
The NBA would need to come to agreements with the NBPA and its broadcast partners to make such sweeping changes, and the league and players are reportedly in agreement that a post-Thanksgiving date spanning into mid-December would be a good time for the in-season tournament. Later dates were discussed bit reportedly shot down out of fear it would come too close to the trade deadline. Teams who advance in or win the tournament would likely receive some sort of bonus or incentives.
As for the play-in tournament for the playoffs, it would go something like this:
...two four-team tournaments featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th seeds in each conference. The seventh seed would host the eighth seed, with the winner of that single game earning the seventh spot, league sources said.
The ninth seed would host the 10th seed, with the winner of that game facing the loser of the 7-vs.-8 matchup for the final playoff spot.
To make these changes happen by 2021, they would have to be agreed upon by the next Board of Governors meeting this upcoming April, Such talks have been ongoing for a while as revamping the NBA has been on Adam Silver’s agenda ever since he took over as commissioner in 2014. This would be yet another step in accomplishing the goals of slightly shortening the NBA season without losing revenue, help discourage tanking with more to play for, and revamp a playoff layout that has been stagnant at times due to uneven conferences and overpowered super teams.
What do you think, Pounders? Would you be for such changes to the regular season and playoffs? What pros and cons do you see coming from it? Feel free to discuss in the comments below.